It’s Time for Some Pastoral Laughter for a Change

Why you should enter the pulpit with a smile.

I know, I know—“ministry is serious business.” If I hear that one more time, I think I’ll gag. I fully realize that too much humor can be irritating, even offensive.

By BerLin (Nikon) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

I recognize that it can be taken to such an extreme that it is inappropriate. But doesn’t it seem we have a long way to go before we are guilty of that problem?

I think so.

The final result of a joyless existence is as follows:

  • Sad
  • A superhigh-level intensity
  • Borderline neurotic anxiety
  • An absence of just plain fun in one’s work
  • A lack of relaxation
  • The tendency to take ourselves much too seriously

Each of us may be a conservative minister, but do we really have to look like one? Always so serious? We need to lighten up! Yes, spirituality and fun do go well together.

Scripture speaks directly to this issue, you know—especially the Proverbs:

A joyful heart makes a cheerful face,
But when the heart is sad, the spirit is broken. (Proverbs 15:13)

Amazing how that proverb goes right to the heart of the problem (no pun intended). We’re not talking about a person’s face here as much as we are about the heart. Internal joy goes public. We can’t hide it. The face takes its cue from an inside signal.

Where Your Face Gets its Cues

A well-developed sense of humor reveals a well-balanced personality.

Maladjusted people show a far greater tendency to miss the point in a funny remark. They take jokes personally. They take things that are meant to be enjoyable much too seriously. The ability to get a laugh out of everyday situations is a safety valve. It rids us of tensions and worries that could otherwise damage our health.

It’s also a healthy part of your pulpit ministry. Take it from one who knows: your congregation wants to hear you laugh more often!

As you enter the pulpit this Sunday, take a smile with you. Better still, a laugh. You think I’m exaggerating? If so, maybe you’ve forgotten another proverb:

A joyful heart is good medicine,
But a broken spirit dries up the bones. (Proverbs 17:22)

Isn’t that eloquent? Literally, it says, “A joyful heart causes healing.” What is it that brings healing to the emotions . . . and healing to the soul? A joyful heart.

When the heart is right, a joyful countenance accompanies it!

What do you think? Do you laugh in the pulpit? You can tell me by clicking here.

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